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Author Topic: Unallocated drive space  (Read 3222 times)


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Unallocated drive space
« on: April 29, 2008, 01:50 PM »
Got a new problem and wondering if there is a solution?
About a month ago I bought an old computer w/monitor that had Win2K installed. The price being about the same as two loaves of bread I grabbed it!
Cracked the password, put in a new vid card and it's up and running.
Now I decide to replace the 8GB HDD.......... yeah, right!
There is a hidden partition or unallocated space that I can't image, copy or clone.
I tried TrueImage 7, then TrueImage 11, then XXClone, and finally Seagates Diskwizard software. I can't get a bootable image, or copy, onto a new Seagate drive with any of those.
Being a Yard Sale bargain there was no CD included so to save that copy of Win2K I've got to figure out how to copy those boot files from that unallocated space. I'm assuming it's raw disk space and wondering if that information can be recovered???
It works fine the way it is and I have no real need for a copy of Win2K but that's not the way that boys think.
If I could get the OS imaged I might put it on a newer machine? or not! The process of copying something from a raw drive is what intrigues me.
By the way, the monitor included in the deal is a Radius Intellicolor Display/20e and has the best picture of any monitor in the house. An old multisync from about 2001 weighing in at about a hundred pounds. Damn, it is one heavy old monstor.
TIA for any enlightenment.

----- 8)


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Re: Unallocated drive space
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2008, 02:30 AM »
A lot of systems (Compaqs esp.) have a small partition on the disk that they use to store setup/recovery info. Some systems use this scheme to store the setup program, instead of running it from CMOS memory.

These partitions can have weird formatting (FAT12? or some proprietary format) that can be tough for disk part programs to deal with.

Not sure how you'd get around this one. Acronis Disk Director or similar can identify many of these partition types, but that doesn't mean you can do anything with them. And you don't want to wipe it out as it may cripple your PC's ability to run setup.

Your best bet might be to visit the PC manufacturer's website and poke around. They may have a downloadable system setup disk that will give you access to this partition, or let you recreate it on a new disk.

As for W2K, check to see if there's a "makedisk" or "makefloppy" program buried somewhere in the WINNT folder. You can use this to create the 4 floppy disks needed to boot W2K. They are setup diskettes whose purpose is to get the OS up and running to where it can read from the CD and finish setup, but they also let you run a limited recovery-console style command prompt, which you might find useful in your tinkering.

Good luck!
- Jimdoria [email protected]>@

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Re: Unallocated drive space
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2008, 02:45 AM »
you could also try one of the free Open Source partitioning and imaging Solutions like gparted (only for partitioning) or parted magic (does imaging too) -- you'll need to dowload (about 50mb, I think) and burn them on a CD. Gparted is easy to use and reliable. I must admit that I have never used the Open source imaging solutions though (only on parted magic), only the partitioning one.

I used that [sorry! EDIT: Parted Magic] for the partitioning
with the help of this tutorial
it was very easy

Parted Magic (based on gParted I think) has an impressive list of formats it can read -I havent used it for imaging but you could use it just to see can you find the hidden partition


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Re: Unallocated drive space
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2008, 03:17 AM »
Have you tried laying down your existing image?  It may be that you don't need that partition, especially if it is a diagnostic partition.  Compaq was good for that - put diagnostics in a diagnostics partition that only could be accessed a certain way and you can not copy it.  At least we never found a way.  Even full disk imaging didn't cut it.

As for is there a way, in an answer, yes.  Is it worth it?  Probably not.  Look into forensic recovery software.  This type of software works for deleted files, encrypted files (though it can't unencrypt it), formatted sections, etc.  From my understanding, it literally takes a bit-by-bit copy of an entire drive.  You will get a copy of it, and may even be able to access it, but it probably won't be as helpful as what you are looking for.


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Re: Unallocated drive space
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2008, 04:55 PM »
If it is a recovery partition, then you should be able to just reinstall Windows from that partition if you press the right button as it boots up.

I'm not sure if it was done this way, but you can select the boot method by pressing F12 on bootup and try finding the recovery partition or diags or something through that menu.